'Avengers: Infinity War' is often like watching one interminable battle scene

The script, by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, adds the requisite doses of off-kilter Marvel humor, but it lacks emotional power to match the graphic thrills.

Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios/AP
Danai Gurira, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Sebastian Stan star in 'Avengers: Infinity War.'

"Avengers: Infinity War" reportedly cost around $300 million and was 10 years in the making. This doesn't mean the film took 10 years to make. It just means that all that time was required to amass virtually all the Marvel characters into a single entity. The other Marvel movies can be viewed as a sort of prequel to this one.

For that matter, "Infinity War" is essentially a prequel, too – the second installment of the two-part story is scheduled to arrive with a heavy thud next summer.

But here's the thing: These movies never really end because there's always something unresolved hanging out there in deep space. In "Infinity War," Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the others go up against Thanos (Josh Brolin), the implacable, granitic behemoth who seeks out the infinity stones that will give him infinite power. His ultimate goal is modest: He wants to wipe out half of the universe's population.

Anthony and Joe Russo, the brothers who brought us the last two "Captain America" movies, pile on the action. There's a reason why this movie is called "Infinity War" – it often seems as if we are watching one interminable battle scene. The script, by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, adds the requisite doses of off-kilter Marvel humor, but what is mostly missing is an emotional power to match the graphic thrills. One of the reasons "Black Panther" worked as well as it did is because its story functioned on both a visceral and an emotional level.

Some of the sequences are undeniably thrilling but, at about 2-1/2 hours, overkill sets in early. Diehard Marvel fans will no doubt lap all this stuff up – at the packed screening I attended, even the tiniest Marvel minutiae was greeted with whoops – but I was longing for the showdown with Thanos to bring an end to it all. And of course, there is no end. That's why they call it "Infinity War." Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language, and some crude references.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.